In Nation Op-ed, Lehman Writer-in-Residence Brusi Addresses Police Use of Force During Puerto Rican Protests

Photo of Puerto Rican Flag

The Nation magazine on July 29 published an op-ed by Rima Brusi, writer-in-residence at Lehman College's Center for Human Rights and Peace Studies.

The piece, "Why Puerto Rico's Cops Ignore the Constitution at Night," chronicles what Brusi describes the police's response to ongoing protests as "excessive and unchecked" and calls for the creation of mechanisms to monitor abuse and keep police accountable.

The ongoing protests began earlier this month after nearly 1,000 pages of text messages between Puerto Rico's Governor Ricardo Roselló and members of his cabinet were made public and included possible evidence of corruption and made insulting remarks about the poor, women and Hurricane Maria victims, among others. Roselló has resigned and said he will step down Aug. 2 after thousands of Puerto Ricans took to the streets in protests that continued for weeks.

"Puerto Rico is currently in the middle of the fraught process of installing an interim government," wrote Brusi. "Moving forward, given the evidence of recent police repression of free speech rights and the history of police abuses, it is critical that mechanisms to monitor abuse and keep police accountable are put in place."

In the call for ongoing vigilance in this period of political uncertainty, Brusi joins a chorus of human rights advocates, journalists, and scholars in Puerto Rico and the United States.